Looking Forward to Spring
This is the time of year when gardeners become excited. because we look forward to the sweat, tears and labor of gardening as an awakening of favorite seasons.
As I look outside I can see multitudes of jobs that need to be done. Sometimes my excitement creates frustration because of all the work required to put the landscape back in order, but on the other hand, it is well worth the end result.
I had just finished planting potatoes, -brussel sprouts, cabbage, lettuce and onion sets as cool weather produce when the temperatures climbed to the 60s and 70s. That's when I noticed my crocus, -daffodils and tulips were peeking through the soil, inviting me to appreciate them. Befuddled with an ironic combination of winter crops and spring bulbs welcoming the season, I decided to let nature take care of itself.
I also joined the ranks of frustrated -gardeners and realized that old saying is true: If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change. That's -precisely what happened a few days later when the temperature dropped down to the 40s and 50s. I decided those numbers would work with both cool weather crops and spring awakenings.
Two weeks later, I had one daffodil in bloom, a forsythia bush, which is crazily extending its twiggy yellow arms across its neighbor, the wispy amsonia, and the cypress joins to create the triumvirate of "hello spring." All this is guarded by the king and queen of the area, a barely -budded Japanese maple and the stretched lilac, just daring me to have patience for their bloom times.
With such an eclectic assortment of plants and shrubs, it becomes a potpourri of beauty because nature announces once again that it can perform without our assistance. We care for them, protect them, feed and water them, but they still perform as they see fit.
Unaffected by this weather and -performing their showy colors and perky faces, the silky pansies ignore everything and continue to do their job of growing and brightening the landscape until they -realize their existence is no longer required.
Pansies are a stately lot. Although an annual, they stand tough as perennials through their brief life span. They suffer through winter, continue to bloom during fluctuating temperatures and offer their owners glorious color combinations of white, purple, yellow and orange.
Pansy pests are common, but if you check plants frequently during wet or humid weather you can probably check the first sign of disease. Avoid overhead watering, which keeps leaves wet, -providing an environment in which the -diseases can flourish. Aphids, spider mites and slugs can be taken care of with -organic solutions.
If you want to prepare a proper bed for pansies, add manure, leaf mold or compost to soil and turn it several times. Or use bloodmeal worked into the soil. Pansies are gross feeders and need a rich bed. They like sun and prefer loose organic soil.
When leaves turn brown, it is probably due to over- or under-watering. Check the root system. If you want to fertilize pansies, use a balanced fertilizer or one with a slightly higher nitrogen.
1. Make sure your plants are not -inundated with too much rainfall. If soil appears saturated, cover the plants with individual protective coverings.
2. Clean pond water and remove any debris edged throughout the pond. Give the water a pond enzyme to perk up the environment.
3. Clean all bird feeders and get ready to feed all the birds who will be visiting shortly.
4. Plan, design and plant a sustainable garden in the backyard.
5. Clean under all rose bushes and shrubs and replace with fresh mulch.
6. Get rid of any dead, diseased or -damaged product.
7. Have soil checked via the extension office in Carthage.
8. Propagate your large shrub and divide any lilies and daffodils before they bloom.
9. Begin new beds of plants and label everything.
10. Keep a journal of plants, dates, growth and divisions.
11. Make sure the mower is set high enough not to scalp the grass.
Contact Anita Stone at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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